In Tennessee, a felony is defined as a crime punishable by at least one year in state prison. Facing a possible felony charge can be intimidating, and having the advice and support of a felony charges lawyer is essential.
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Felony convictions don’t only mean likely time in prison and other immediate penalties. They also substantially affect the individual’s future for years to come. Convicted felons in Tennessee face the loss of the right to vote, the loss of firearm rights, and other significant disadvantages.
With so much at stake, it is vital to ensure you have the most qualified and committed felony lawyers possible. We at Best And Brock treat our clients with respect while working aggressively to maintain their rights in court. Every defendant in this country has the right to a fair trial.
Please contact Best And Brock for a free case consultation. Available 24/7 (423) 829-1043.
What Defines a Felony?
While misdemeanors are treated more like dumb mistakes a person might make, felonies are considered much more serious. Once you have a felony on your record, it can become much more difficult to find employment and housing, so it is important that you get the help of experienced lawyers to help you fight for your rights.
The Tennessee state criminal code has declared the following as felonies:
- Grand theft (stolen goods worth $500+)
- Aggravated assault
As you can see, while all the above crimes are more serious than a misdemeanor, not all felonies are considered equal. For this reason, the state criminal code gives felonies a letter designation of A (most serious) through E. While a Class E conviction can carry a one-year prison term, a Class A conviction could carry a prison term of up to 60 years.
The Tennessee felony pre-trial process includes:
- Investigation by law enforcement to establish probable cause. Probable cause is defined as reasonable grounds for belief of guilt.
- Gathering evidence of the crime. Sometimes, this will require a warrant, but if you agree to a search, a warrant will not be required.
- Arresting the alleged felon and reading them their rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel.
- Arraignment within three days of arrest. At an arraignment, a defendant enters their plea, and the judge will determine the sum of the defendant’s bail if applicable.
Guilty, Not-Guilty & No Contest
The State of Tennessee allows three possible pleas. A guilty plea is a direct admission that the defendant committed the crime. A not-guilty plea is a direct denial of guilt.
However, by pleading no contest, the defendant does not admit guilt—they simply indicate they do not dispute the facts of the case, and it is left to the court to determine the penalty.
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